Neck Injuries

Neck injuries belfast

Neck injuries can occur in both the sports and general population.  

There are several different structures such as vertebrae, discs, ligaments, nerves and muscles that could cause pain.  

Neck injuries can also cause associated symptoms such as a headache or pins and needles or numbness down your arm.  

Physio Performance will identify what is causing your symptoms and how best to fix them.  

Keep reading to find out about common neck injuries:

Wry Neck

The symptoms of a wry neck include a sudden onset of pain and difficulty moving the neck.  

This can be caused by a sudden movement of the head or when the neck is placed in an awkward position for a long time i.e. sleeping on a pillow.  The structures involved are either:

  • Facet joint – small joints on either side of the vertebrae
  • Disc – the thick layer of cushioning between each vertebrae

Facet Joint Wry Neck

Usually caused by a sudden movement of the head, affecting the upper neck. 

The person complains of their neck being ‘stuck’ in a position due to pain and muscle spasm. 

Disc Wry Neck

Often the result of sleeping in an awkward position and wakening up with neck pain.  

Pain is usually situated around the bottom of the neck and radiates into the shoulder blades. 

Treatment is aimed at restoring full pain-free neck movements.  

Treatment techniques include massage, joint mobilisations, neck stretches and muscle strengthening exercises.  

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Nerve Pain

Nerves in the neck can become ‘trapped’ or irritated.  

The symptoms of a nerve issue include pain, pins and needles or numbness radiating down the arm, sometimes to the fingers.  

Pain is not always present in the neck but only in the arm.  

Compression of the nerve can be caused by the discs, joints and inflammation.   

Treatment is carried out to stretch the neck in certain ways to relieve pressure on the nerve.  

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Stingers or Burners

Stingers or burners are neck injuries that occur in contact sports such as rugby and American football.  

A player’s shoulder is pulled downwards and/or their neck is forced in the opposite direction.

This mechanism over stretches the nerves of the neck, also known as the brachial plexus.  

Symptoms such as pain, pins and needles, and numbness can last from minutes to days.

Return to sport should wait until the symptoms have completely resolved.   

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